Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Infertility: The Most Selfish of all Disorders

I'm going to tell you a dirty little secret. One that we infertiles normally keep to ourselves. Because it's not nice, it's not pretty, and it's not even something that we like to admit to ourselves.

Being infertile in a fertile world changes a person.

It makes us selfish, and bitter, and jealous, and worst of all, it chips away at our soul. It is a cancer, that doesn’t eat away at the body, but worse, eats away at our hearts. Eats away at the very core of who we are as people. It takes away all that is good. It steals our innocence. Our ability to imagine and dream and believe. It gobbles up the good before we can stop it and leaves us shells of who we once were.

I used to be idealistic. Dreams could always come true. Bad things wouldn't happen to good people. I used to believe in fairytales and happy endings. I used to see the best in people. I used to be happy for other people's successes and happiness and blessings. I used to want the best for everyone.

But the truth is, I don't anymore. And this is a shameful secret that eats away at me.

I find myself crying when somebody announces they are pregnant. I find myself cringing when I see a father and son playing catch. I find myself unable to genuinely be happy for other people. It feels like daggers to my heart. Like every piece of their happiness, somehow takes away from the possibility of me ever getting mine. I find myself thinking that there isn't enough to go around. That if they are on the winning end, I am on the losing end. I find myself thinking that every happy family I see, is somehow I reminder of what I might never have. And the thought that I might never have it, is too much for me to bear. There is nobody to lash out at. There is nobody to direct my anger towards. So I direct it at the world. At everybody who I wish I could be. At every family who I envy so deeply. And instead of being happy for their joy, I find myself feeling sorry for myself. And I don't like it.

Infertility is the most selfish disease there is. It's easy to sink into a hole of our own self-pity. It's easy to feel like victims. It's easy to become jaded, cynical and guarded. It makes us prickly, oversensitive, emotional, sad, angry, exhausted, mean-spirited, hopeless, and depressed. Who would want to be friends with a person like that? I know I sure wouldn't. I can't even stand to be around myself at times. Infertility changes us into people we don't recognize, people we don't like, and worse -- people we completely and utterly despise.

But one day soon, I plan to beat this ugly beast. I plan to go as many rounds as it takes. And I hope to god I win. Because I want myself back. I want back the wide-eyed hopeful little girl who believes in fairlytales and happy endings. I want back the woman who is a good friend, a kind person, and most of all -- has a big open loving heart.


Anonymous said...

Lisa, I felt just like you do before I finally got pregnant at CCRM. I was very depressed and not the most fun person to be around for about 2 years. I was not happy for others and had so much jealousy it made me sick. I didn't go to baby showers and it was frustrating working in a school system with little kids and the parents who didn't even care about them. I missed out on quite a bit of living by crying daily and not seeing friends and family. I need to tell you though, something that may disappoint you. Even after I got pregnant I still have issues. In fact, I think of myself at Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after all I've been through. People expect me to be completely 100% happy now and not have any issues at all but I still harbor a lot of anger, frustration, and jealousy. I definitely feel happier now than I did in those days but sometimes those angry, jealous, and frustrating feelings do come back. I'll never forget all I've been through. Maybe after I have this baby I'll be able to let some of this heartache go but sometimes I'm not sure if it will ever fade but in time I hope it will. I think that it does help to know there are others thinking the same thoughts I am and your blog resonates with me and the sadness I still feel now sometimes and felt daily long ago. I will be anonymous here but you know me from the IVF board.

Lisa said...

Anonymous, wow, I had no idea the sadness might still linger, but it makes so much sense. You have been through so much to get where you are, and nobody will ever understand. It really must be like PTS disorder. I hope once you hold your baby in your arms, you are able to leave some of the pain behind. Once it is real and you are holding your baby, I pray that you your heart will be filled right up with all the love and happiness you so deserve. I know you will never forget all you've been through, and I know the sadness for everything you have been through will never completely go away, but you deserve to be happy. You've earned it!! I'll be praying for an easy, fast delivery and a perfect healthy little bundle of joy. :)

Linda said...

OMG, you said everything I am feeling! I, too, have an infertility blog; but I'm not as eloquent as you. Thank you for putting into words how I feel.

Anonymous said...

I think infertility would not be so bad, if it weren't for the insensitive, even abusive, comments that other people make. Let's face it, many people like to dig their claws in when they find out a woman is infertile. They make the usual, predictable, callous comments about how you are selfish for not adopting, and how IVF is "playing God". Its no wonder that people going through infertility need counseling. Oh, and don't get me started on the disappearing friend who suddenly resurfaced once she got pregnant and really just wanted me to go to her baby shower.

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Talk soon.